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By Takeshi Moriyama

Crossing barriers in Tokugawa Society offers a shiny picure of the lifetime of Suzuki Bokushi (1770-1842), an elite villager in a snowy province of Japan, concentrating on his interplay with the altering social and cultural setting of the overdue Tokugawa interval (1603-1868).

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Extra info for Crossing boundaries in Tokugawa society: Suzuki Bokushi, a rural elite commoner

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700–06. 35 The Aizu-han administration placed its local offices at Ojiya (head office), Koidejima and Shiozawa (branch offices) in order to administer Uonuma county, whose putative rice yield was approximately 70,000 koku. However, despite the size of the county’s rice yields, which were comparable with those of the domain of a middle-class daimyo, only four samurai officials were dispatched to the three local offices as office caretakers ( jin’ya mori) (NKS-T, vol. 4, pp. 15–26); therefore, I presume that the Shiozawa jin’ya was not likely to have had a samurai official on a permanent basis.

In addition to its own domain of 230,000 koku in the neighbouring province of Mutsu, Aizu authority was given by the shogunate large domains of ‘trust land’ in Echigo and other places. the shogun’s power, see Donald H. Shively, ‘Tokugawa Tsunayoshi, the Genroku Shogun’, in Albert M. Craig and Donald H. Shively (eds), Personality in Japanese History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1970), pp. 92–93. 9 Administration of the trust land seems to have been of little benefit to the Aizu authority, whose commission was as low as three per cent of the official yield of the land.

2–3, 197, 204. 10 introduction personal experiences in crossing boundaries indicate a dynamic tendency towards social convergence and cultural integration, the limits in his negotiation of social frameworks also point to the power of differentiation among statuses and across both geographical distance and the urban/ rural divide. 16 Meanwhile, in reconsidering the Tokugawa social order, I make use of the concept, elaborated by a number of historians in different contexts, of a ‘middle’ position between two binary social categories.

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